Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stroke: It Can Happen To Anyone

Public News Service-MN

May 23, 2011

Stroke: It Can Happen To Anyone

MINNEAPOLIS - May is Stroke Awareness Month, and the American Stroke Association wants people to know the warning signs of stroke - and that it can hit anyone at any age.

April 11, 2009, is a day Kaela Gedda will never forget. She woke up with some numbness in her arm, but didn't think much of it. She had no idea the numbness was the first sign of a stroke, so she went to work - and things started getting worse.

"When I tried to walk to the break room, 'cause I was at work, it was about 15 feet away, and I could hardly walk. I had to lean up against the wall - and I still didn't know what was going on. I tried eating a banana, and when I couldn't even open the banana I knew that something was really wrong with me."

Kaela called her mother, who took her to the hospital. There, she was told she was having a stroke. Kaela says her experience points out stroke can happen to anyone.

"I was 19 years old, I've been dancing since I was 3, I'm on the dance team at St. Norbert, very healthy, active - and - it happened to me."

No matter how old or young you are, Kaela says, you need to know the signs of stroke: sudden numbness or weakness, sudden confusion or trouble understanding, sudden vision problems, sudden dizziness, loss of balance or trouble walking, or sudden severe headache of unknown cause.

If you experience any of those symptoms, Kaela says, you should call 911 immediately, and check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. If the clot-busting drug tPA is given within three hours of the onset, it can help reduce long-term disability. She says a stroke can happen to anyone.

"It seems like it might be for your grandma or your grandpa who are 70, 80 years old, but it can be a young woman, it can be a college basketball player, it can be someone walking their dog, or just sitting at an office at work."

Stroke is the nation's third-leading cause of death. About 800,000 strokes occur every year in the United States, and the American Stroke Association says that knowing the warning signs and taking immediate action can be the difference between life and death.

Learn more about stroke at

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